Tips for a Happier, Healthier You

Clinical Director Claire Small explains why rest and recovery are essential to preventing overtraining & underperformance.

Continual high level performance in the workplace is both physically and mentally demanding and requires monitoring to ensure you do not start to suffer from Overtraining syndrome (also called underperformance syndrome. Overtraining syndrome is well recognised in the sporting and athletic population. 

There are three main components: 

  • suppression of the immune system
  • depression and other psychological issues
  • inadequate achievement in tasks and activities

It is not caused solely by a high volume of training or workload but rather by a number of factors that contribute to poor performance. Unfortunately, most people deal with the problem by spending longer at their desk and working harder to try and achieve the same output. 

Rest and recovery are essential elements of every athlete’s training programme and it is also important in delivering high calibre work in any environment. To win Wimbledon, Andy Murray is said to have slept 10 hours a day. 

Specific advice:

  • Get 7-8 hours sleep a night and avoid the TV, phone or computer for at least 30min before bedtime
  • Monitor the time you spend at your desk. Be aware of how long you sit without getting up
  • Don’t try and sit in one position the whole time thinking this is “good posture”. We are made to move around; slouch, shuffle and stand up when the phone rings
  • Try and get up and out of the office for a good break without your phone or email for at least 30 minutes
  • Get your Vitamin D levels checked; deficiencies can lead to problems with the immune system and fatigue
  • Spend some time each day reading fiction; it has been shown to help recovery and also allows your mind to focus on one thing only
  • Spend 30min a day undertaking moderate exercise like walking. You are more likely to die from being physically inactive than from the combined effects of being obese, diabetic and a smoker 

30 minutes of moderate exercise a day with reduce your chance of:

  • Type 2 Diabetes by 40%
  • Cardiovascular disease by 35%
  • Depression by 30%
  • Joint and back pain by 25%
  • Cancers – colon and breast – by 20%